When we think of increasing our exercise plan, or even starting an exercise regime, many find all sorts of excuses… limited finances, busy schedules, other health concerns… but when you consider walking to a healthier you, no excuse will work. Walking is the cheapest, easiest to incorporate into everyday lives and the least strenuous type of exercise.
- Improved stamina and energy levels
- Increased blood flow/circulation
- Heart and lung health
- Aid in reduction of cholesterol and elevated blood pressure
- Assist weight loss and reduction of body fat
- Reduces everyday life stressors
How Much, How Often and Where?
These questions are all answered on an individual basis, but walking can be incorporated into every lifestyle with any budget. Ideally you’ll want to set a goal of 10,000 steps a day. It may sound like an intimidating number, but you must consider the amount of steps you already take in any given day. Chances are you walk to the kitchen more than once, the car a couple times a day, the bathroom several times a day, around the office to get to the fax machine or talk to a co-worker, and around the house chasing after kids. You can purchase a pedometer to count the steps for you, or you can just simply come up with a guestimate. Ten minutes of walking is equivalent to about 1,000 steps.
Walking five times a week is a good goal, especially if you are walking to lose weight and increase cardiac flow. First, you’ll want to get your resting heart rate. Then use our target heart rate calculator to find out where your heart rate needs to be in order to get the best benefits from your walking routine. A brisk walk for 30 minutes is equal to about 3,000 steps and you’ll burn about 300 to 400 calories! Top that off with a sensible diet and you’ve got a weight loss program that hasn’t cost you a penny.
One of the biggest reasons people excuse themselves from walking more is time. Think about this: How much more time does it take to park your car back a little further in the car park to get in a couple more steps? How much more time are you losing if you take half of your lunch hour to walk around the building a couple of times instead of sitting in front of your computer? There are many opportunities to walk most of us just don’t think about. Instead of sitting there counting the minutes until your child has finished their karate lesson, get up and take a power walk. If you use public transport, get off a stop early so you can walk the rest of the way. Take the dog for a walk instead of letting him dig up the garden. Walking your kids to school is another great way to incorporate additional walking.
Contrary to popular belief you don’t have look like one of the typical power walkers swinging your arms wildly and walking faster than half the joggers you’ve seen to reap the many benefits. Take it one step at a time and gradually increase until you’ve reached your goal. Try adding on 1,000 steps a week and you’ll be at 10,000 a day before you know it!